By Tom Albrecht | Jun 14, 2017 | From The Agents
On September 30th, 2006, I got off the Greyhound bus, outside the Boomtown Casino.
I didn’t know anyone in town, but the same Vancouver friend who had lent me $20 and a ticket to Fort Mac had also hooked me up with his distant Newfie relatives (his mom’s sister’s cousin’s etc.. you know?)
I was given a ride, a bed, a job serving at Earl’s - I was a total stranger, but that’s Newfies for you. And that’s Fort McMurray.
In the last 11 years, there has been a lot of change for me personally, so it’s hard to know how much the town has changed too. When I first arrived, with my treasured $20 bill, I was only here for 6 months as a temporary worker, to save money for traveling. Others I knew at the time spent their first few nights in cars in the Walmart parking lot.
I moved house 12 times in the first 6 years. I worked at The Keg, delivered toilets and renovated a home in Thickwood. Who knew, many of these skills would come in handy later?!
The spirit of Fort McMurray has changed. It’s grown up a lot. Maybe not. Maybe the youth is just as youthful and we’re just not part of it! It’s hard to say. But that’s for another post.
Today I thought is about Fort McMurray, how it continues to change (improve) and where to live. So, here are MY...
Timberlea, Eagle Ridge, Stonecreek
It’s wild when I think back to 2006 and imagine these areas at the time. Eagle Ridge was a few holes in the ground. Stonecreek hadn’t been dreamt up yet. And Timberlea was mainly just a ton of homes, either brand new, or from the 1980’s.
What was there to do?
…that was pretty much it. I always think: The owners of those stores must have done well!!
Fast forward to today, and these three areas of town really represent a city within a city. The Stoney Creek development has had a huge impact on the variety of amenities available in this part of town. The introduction of Tim Horton’s and Starbucks have been life changing events for residents, but that’s just coffee. It’s hard to count the number of stores today, and more is coming. There are tons of new schools. Seven?
The big news recently, was that the Eagle Ridge developer, Centron, has decided to proceed with their large retail development in Eagle Ridge (The Eagle Ridge Retail Centre). People who own homes in the area must be excited that by fall 2018, they will not only be within walking distance to a state-of-the-art Landmark Cinema, but also a variety of shops, restaurants etc.
Not only is this part of town full of life’s conveniences, but the newer neighbourhoods are increasingly walkable (a challenge Fort McMurray has seemingly always struggled with), and they are becoming wonderful places to live. We present the “walk-score” on every MLS® listing on our website which gives each home a score out of 100 for how walkable it is. It’s crazy to see the scores going up!
[Read my post about our The A-Team’s exceptional online search tools]
As commercial and retail rents continue to fall, I expect we will see an explosion of “things to do” stores in Fort McMurray. For example, a friend of ours is opening an “escape room”, and another has recently opened Color Me Mine. I’m hoping that someone will open up an outdoor adventure store that rents kayaks & canoes, and organizes reasonably priced trips into the wild (that idea is a freebee by the way). There must be plenty of people like me who didn’t grow up in the woods, but craves more time out in them without being eaten by beasts!
I expect a lot of this awesomeness will appear Downtown Fort McMurray.
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